Monday, April 06, 2015

Easy Being Green: Catalan Spinach

My favorite way to eat greens is simply sauteed in a bit of olive oil or butter, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. In recent years, I've enjoyed the classic Mediterranean greens often described as Catalan Spinach at various eateries, but for some reason never thought to make it at home. I could see there were only a few ingredients needed, resulting in those wonderful sweet-savory flavors for which this dish is known. However, I felt sure there was some underlying technique or finesse which I wouldn't be able to replicate in my kitchen. I pictured myself being disappointed and discouraged, with nothing but some wilted greens to ease my troubled mind. Thankfully, I finally did try it—not only was it extremely easy to make, it was extremely fast as well!

Catalan Spinach with Dried Currants and Garlic

Catalan Spinach

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
3-4 Tablespoons dried currants
11 oz. baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, wide saucepan over medium-low heat, gently simmer olive oil and garlic, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes. Add currants and continue to simmer for another few minutes, until all the currants are soft and coated with the garlicky oil. Add spinach and wilt, covered, turning the leaves over as needed (you may need to add the spinach in batches depending on the size and depth of your pan). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or warm.

Notes: Substitute baby Swiss chard or baby kale for the baby spinach, or use regular spinach (removing any tough stems and veins). In place of the currants, use regular or golden raisins. For added flavor and crunch, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds before serving. Adjust quantities of oil, garlic and currants to taste, or as needed for larger/smaller quantities of greens. Adapted from the always helpful Joy of Cooking.


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